My daughter is teaching herself to
Her college friends mock her: It's a
rocking-chair hobby, they tell her. An old-lady hobby. Still, she
She frowns over her work, each hand
tightly clutching a gold needle, a multi-colored scarf slowly taking
shape between them. I watch her take up the yarn and incorporate it
into the scarf. I listen to the clacking of the needles in the
perfect stillness of the house. Listening, I am reminded of my mother
and my grandmother and the work that has come from their needles:
scarfs and hats; dishcloths and blankets and the long-outgrown
sweaters that I keep in my trunk for my children's children.
My daughter sighs. The clacking stops.
She holds up the scarf revealing another dropped stitch. “I hate
knitting.” The comfortable quiet is replaced with frustration.
“Should I tear it all out?”
“No,” I tell her. “Just keep
“Then the problem will just
continue,” she says, taking up her needles again.
Perhaps. But dropped stitches can be
corrected. And, as she makes the same mistake over and over again,
she will see what is happening and learn how to correct it.
Knitting is a reflection of our lives,
lives created with our own hands; lives created with intention and
purpose. You cannot tear out the mistakes of your life, pulling apart
the intricate threads to correct a misstep. You can only move on,
looking at the gap between stitches and knowing that this was a place
of learning and growth.
As my daughter knits, she will learn to
pick up dropped stitches. She will increase in speed and confidence.
She will try new patterns and combine new and interesting yarns,
weaving her life experiences into her work.
Knitting allows her to create something
useful and valuable, and, yes, even with the dropped stitches, a
thing of beauty. Knitting teaches her to produce something of value
on her own.
And if that's an old-lady hobby, well
then, pass me my rocker.
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Raising Children